Friday, July 30, 2010

Man Booker Prize for Fiction Longlist is Announced

I have probably mentioned this before, but I have been a follower of the Booker Prize since I read my first prizewinner, Keri Hulme's The Bone People, in high school. Every year I am on tenterhooks as first the longlist is announced, then the shortlist, & finally the winner!

This year's Man Booker Dozen (must be like a baker's dozen-there are 13 books) was announced on July 27th:

For more information on the Man Booker Prize, head to their website. A shortlist of six will be announced on September 7th and the winner will be revealed on October 12th.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Voices from the Past

Suddenly, two authors long deceased are speaking to us again.

After 100 years of simmering, the first volume of Mark Twain's unexpurgated autobiography is about to be published. "Versions of the autobiography have been published before, in 1924, 1940 and 1959. But the original editor, Albert Bigelow Paine, was a stickler for propriety, cutting entire sections he thought offensive; his successors imposed a chronological cradle-to-grave narrative that Twain had specifically rejected, altered his distinctive punctuation, struck additional material they considered uninteresting and generally bowed to the desire of Twain’s daughter Clara, who died in 1962, to protect her father’s image," says the article in the New York Times.

In the late 1950s, English students at the University of Virginia were treated to a series of lectures by William Faulkner, then writer-in-residence. These lectures were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes that have since been digitized & published online. Check the UVA website's "Faulkner in Virginia" to listen to Faulkner lecturing & taking questions from students.

Monday, July 26, 2010

TED: Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world

I have seen a lot of talks from TED online, & been interested in the variety of subjects covered. The other day I actually checked out their website, subtitled "Ideas worth spreading". Hear talks on joint replacement, fractals, global population, & more! On-site ratings include jaw-dropping, informative, funny, & beautiful. Here are a couple examples of what you'll find there:

J.K. Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure (2008 Harvard Commencement speech)
At her Harvard commencement speech, "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling offers some powerful, heartening advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems "worth more than any qualification I ever earned."

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity

Isabel Allende tells tales of passion

Doris Kearns Goodwin on learning from past presidents

Friday, July 23, 2010

What We're Reading: How to Knit a Love Song

Today we're pleased to feature a review by Diana, a member of our Itch to Stitch group!

How to Knit a Love Song by Rachel Herron is a sweet contemporary romance between a sheep rancher/cowboy (very Gary Cooper) and an independent knitting fanatic (she makes her own yarn and patterns). The romance and bad guy storylines were predictable, but the lightness and brightness of the dialogue and descriptions keeps you engaged and turning the pages. The small town setting and secondary characters keep it fun. The knitting theme is interesting without overwhelming the non-knitting reader. I found the ending a little flat since there's no confrontation between the hero and the villain. The setting and the characters shout potential series. I would look forward to another book from this author.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Femme Fatales, Shady Characters, & Crooked Situations-It Must Be Film Noir!

I love summer, because summer brings to Albuquerque the local Film Noir festival at the Guild Cinema-"seven double features to watch in the dark". The festival started last Friday and features classics like Touch of Evil, Naked City, & Sorry, Wrong Number. Another film in the festival lineup, the Coen brothers' Blood Simple, is a good example of modern noir. Some of the other films shown in the series are perhaps lesser known, but you'll find some famous names hiding in the cast list & frequently the lesser known films prove to be diamonds in the rough. The film noir festival is lovingly assembled by Guild staff with the assistance of noir aficionado Peter Conheim, the cinema's former co-owner. Don't miss out on this great Albuquerque tradition!

For a list of film noir books & movies, & other hardboiled topics available from your local library system, try a keyword search in the catalog using the phrase "film noir". I'm even reading a book of poetry that's an homage to the film noir detective story called Black Maria: Being the Adventures of Delilah Redbone & A.K.A. Jones, which is "produced & directed" by Kevin Young.

To access the listings & showtimes for the Seventh Annual Festival of Film Noir, visit the Guild Cinema website.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Write Like

We found a link to the I Write Like website on Facebook. All you need is a sample of your writing-a couple paragraphs of a story, some poems, a blog post-& this statistical analysis tool will analyze your word choice and writing style and compare them with those of famous writers. We write like George Orwell. Have you noticed?

This is just for fun-obviously it's not completely accurate, as Margaret Atwood used it with a sample of her own writing & found she writes like Stephen King. Rogert Ebert has also given it a try (he writes like Margaret Atwood); Yann Martel writes like Kurt Vonnegut; a writer for the New Yorker's Book Bench says, "According to the machine, an invitation to a birthday party was worthy of a comparison to James Joyce; an excerpt from a term paper on Renaissance literature, though, more closely resembled Dan Brown’s fiction." (The program, written by a Russian software programmer whose second language is English, only pulls from a list of 50 authors right now, but we gather more are being added.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Teaching Company

"A lot of people ask me what I’m reading and how I learn about new topics that interest me. I am fortunate to have time to read a lot and I also like to view courses online from MIT’s OpenCourseware, Academic Earth, and others. These courses have ignited a passion of mine, which is to think about how to harness this approach so students who otherwise wouldn’t have access can experience these great courses and learn from these great teachers. One of my favorite sources for great lectures is The Teaching Company. Most of their courses are available as audio downloads and on DVD. I had a chance to meet with The Teaching Company team, and the way they find the very best professors and best courseware is impressive and it shows in the overall quality of the teaching. "
~Bill Gates, from a post on his GatesNotes blog

We were delighted to find that Bill Gates is a fan of The Teaching Company materials, because so are we! You'll find many of The Teaching Company's materials in the library catalog, from Superstring Theory to the Life & Work of Mark Twain; Alexander the Great & the Hellenistic Age to the String Quartets of Beethoven; Nutrition Made Clear to Museum Masterpieces...explore them all! (You can also search under The Great Courses-some of these will be DVDs, some audiobooks.) Each disc usually contains several lectures of about 30 minutes each taught by university professors from around the United States. The Teaching Company materials are geared towards lifetime learners, but may be helpful or of interest to teenagers as well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Ready for The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

It's time to start reading The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society for our online reading group! Don't forget to post comments & questions either on the blog or on the abc book banter forums.

Click here to visit the official website for the book-the blog links to articles, contains virtual book group discussion questions, the recipe for potato-peel pie, & more!

About the authors:

Mary Ann Shaffer, who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

Her niece, Annie Barrows, is the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half. She lives in northern California.

Click here for the novel's Barnes & Noble page, which gives a longer biography of author Mary Ann Shaffer, an excerpt from the book, recommended further reading, & discussion questions.

Some things to think about as you delve into your reading:

What was it like to read a novel composed entirely of letters? What do letters offer that no other form of writing (not even emails) can convey?

What historical facts about life in England during World War II were you especially surprised to discover? What traits, such as remarkable stamina, are captured in a detail such as potato peel pie? In what ways does fiction provide a means for more fully understanding a non-fiction truth?

Discuss the writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Does a reader's taste in books reveal anything significant about his or her personality?

Who was your favorite character in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Do you think books have the power to lift people out of their circumstances? What role did books play in the lives of the Guernsey Literary Society?

This novel is currently in development to be filmed. Do you think this book will translate well onto the big screen? What do you think of movies that are literary adaptations in general?

Just for fun, consider the recent article from a British paper: "Guernsey: Channel isle with a literary landscape".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Serial Readers Unite!

We had a customer come in today & recommend a site caled Fictfact.
From their website:

"You read books in series. You want to keep track of what to read next. You want recommendations on what to read next. You want to know when new books are coming out.

"That's why you need FictFact!FictFact is a tracking site focused on book series. Let us know what books/series you've read and we'll let you know what you need to read next and what's coming out soon. Registration is free, so let us know how you like it, and what series, books & authors we might be missing."

We like to read the books in a series in order, so we think this will be a great tool for us!

Friday, July 9, 2010

U.S. Poet Laureate #17 is Announced

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced on July 1st the appointment of W.S. Merwin as the Library’s 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2010-2011. Merwin's duties will begin in October.

"William Merwin’s poems are often profound and, at the same time, accessible to a vast audience," Billington said on making the announcement. "He leads us upstream from the flow of everyday things in life to half-hidden headwaters of wisdom about life itself."

Interest in the U.S. Poet Laureates? Join us for our Poetry Circle on Wednesday, July 14th at 3:30 PM. For the Summer Poetry Circle, we will be featuring a Poetry Bout: Kay Ryan vs. Carol Ann Duffy! The (current) Poet Laureates of the United States & the United Kingdom are going head to head! Join us as we compare & contrast Kay Ryan’s “A Ball Rolls on a Point” with Carol Ann Duffy’s “In Your Mind”. Pick up copies of the poems at the Cherry Hills Library Information Desk.

More about W.S. Merwin

Poetry page of the Library of Congress website.

About the position of poet laureate

A poem about summer by the future poet laureate

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Have a safe & festive holiday, everyone!

The Cherry Hills Library is closed today,
but will open again at 10 AM on July 5th!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Gastronomical Me: Remembering M.F.K. Fisher

“People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don't you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do. They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honor of my craft. The easiest answer is to say that, like most humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it."
~ M.F. K. Fisher

In the past couple of years, Julia Child has been a name on everyone's lips-her cookbooks, her TV show, her unabashed love of butter. Today is the birthday of another light of the culinary world-M.F.K. Fisher.

M.F.K. (Mary Frances Kennedy) Fisher (July 3, 1908 – June 22, 1992) was a writer & gourmet, a contemporary of Julia Child who also lived in France with her husband as a young married-in her case in Dijon, then "the gastronomical capital of the world". Fisher wrote more than twenty books, beginning with Serve It Forth (included in the collection The Art of Eating) in 1937. "Serve It Forth was was so unlike other 'women' writers on the subject of cooking that many critics thought it was written by a man," according to Lori Gama's Gastronomic Memoirs. "Fisher believed that eating well was just one of the 'arts of life' and explored the art of living as a secondary theme in her writing," according to Wikipedia. For more books by & about M.F.K. Fisher, check the library catalog.